Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Sunday flagged off the expansion of the Orile Tanker Terminal truck, as part of solutions to the Apapa gridlock.
Ambode assured that work would be accelerated on the 1000-capacity terminal at Orile-Iganmu area of the state.
Ambode, while on an inspection tour of the Apapa-Iganmu axis said the expansion of the terminal was one of the resolutions reached at the recent meeting with stakeholders, especially in the maritime sector.
He said that lasting solutions were suggested to take off the roads, the containerised trucks , majorly responsible for the gridlock in the Apapa area.
“One of the other resolutions is that we should have authorised truck terminal park and so my visit to this place today is to flag off the reconstruction of this terminal so that we can accommodate 1000 trucks.
“We will do this in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority so that the call-up system can work efficiently.
“The expansion we are adding to this particular terminal in which we have decided to acquire the adjoining land, we will use that primarily for non-petroleum trucks so that we can sectionalise these trucks and allow the call-up system to work,” he said.
Ambode said this was part of the efforts of the State Government to make sure that Apapa gridlock and the truck menace become a thing of the past permanently.
He also disclosed that the State Government had concluded plans to utilise an expanse of land in Ijanikin area, along Lagos-Badagry Expressway with a capacity to accommodate at least 5,000 trucks.
“I have just been briefed that we have an additional land space in Ijanikin that can accommodate 5000 trucks.
“We will explore that possibility immediately; all that we are doing is just to make sure that there is a permanent solution to this whole idea of trucks destroying our bridges and roads,” Ambode said.
While appealing to residents for their understanding, the governor assured that within the next six to eight weeks, the terminals would be up and running to get the trucks off the roads and bridges within the axis.
He said aside the expansion of the terminal, the commitment by the Federal Government to commence the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway was on course with the approval of N72.9billion by the Federal Executive Council for the project.
“You will recall that about two weeks ago, we had a stakeholders’ meeting with the Vice President presiding in Apapa and at that meeting, we resolved that we will ensure that the reconstruction of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway will be awarded within two weeks.
“This has been fulfilled by the Federal Government; they have awarded the contract and construction should commence within the next two weeks.
“We thank the President, Vice President, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, and that of Transport for reconstruction of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and the rail track from Apapa Ports to Ibadan which is strictly a cargo rail that will assist in moving heavy-duty goods away from the Apapa axis,” Ambode said.
The governor said his administration was also looking at utilising barges on the waterways to move heavy cargo as a way of complementing efforts on road and rail transportation system.
“I just think Lagosians will have the relief to see that we have actually done what is right and in their overall interest.
“I want to thank all the stakeholders for their interest and we must continue to join hands like I said and we will get the results that we so desire,” he said.
Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said the commissioning of the truck terminal by the governor was a new dawn toward addressing the Apapa gridlock.
“Today, I must say is a beginning of a good thing that will start happening in our sector as haulage operators in the state. Today is the beginning of a new era as far as Lagos State is concerned.
“The governor coming here today has shown that he is very dynamic and pragmatic.
“This is what we have been expecting and for the governor to be here to see things for himself and flag off the rehabilitation and expansion of this terminal shows that he is not only talking but matching words with action,” Ogungbemi said.
He expressed optimism that the steps taken by the State Government would go a long way to end the menace of trucks parking on roads and bridges in the state.
Newsmen report that the governor also inspected the progress of work on the modern bus terminals in Yaba and Oyingbo.
He also inspected the failed section of Sari- Iganmu Road which had been abandoned for over two years, assuring residents, who trooped out to welcome him, that contractors will move in to fix it within the next two weeks.
Ambode also assured them that their blocked canals would also be cleared.
NAN also reports that the governor and his team inspected the ongoing palliative work embarked upon to fix the bad sections of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.